collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

Rosa Lee got hair like a mermaid out on the sea - Ernest Lewis - Rosa Lee

Author Topic: Electric Guitar in Country Blues  (Read 6861 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Slack

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8836
Re: Electric Guitar in Country Blues
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2007, 07:10:39 AM »
Quote
I guess you're really beyond help.

Pretty much - that's the problem with reliving ones youth.  The women love it though.  :P

But back to the topic - we had kind of a loose guideline for the juke that if the electric was played in similar fashion to the acoustic, then it was country blues.... which covers a lot of great music from post war Chicago.

Offline dj

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 2653
  • Howdy!
Re: Electric Guitar in Country Blues
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2007, 07:24:55 AM »
Quote
Every time I hear Rollin' and Tumblin' Part 1 by Baby Face Leroy Trio - I wanna get my amp out turn it up to 13 and blow down the doors.

Well, I'm with you there.  Can we go on to Part 2 when that's done?  And then Wolf doing Moanin' At Midnight?

By then my ears will be hurting and I'll be ready to go back to some acoustic stuff...

Offline unezrider

  • Member
  • Posts: 390
electrical recording
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2010, 02:26:38 PM »
hello friend,
every now & then i find myself wondering about electric guitars in country blues. i was listening to some early lightnin' hopkins yesterday. his gold star recordings, to be exact. & i followed that up with his "lightnin" record on the prestige label. sure his voice sounds a bit older on those prestige recordings, but his acoustic playing on that album is pure lightnin'. & here is someone who recorded 'plugged in' pretty much his entire career, until he started recording more for a white market.
i wasn't around then, but i know in the early & mid 60's there was this notion that acoustic music was purer, or something like that, among a certain crowd of music fans. hence the whole to-do over dylan 'going electric'. & i know lightin' was on that same coffee house circuit & folk scare scene as well.
now granted i am looking at this from afar, & very well may be wrong. but if this is so, why, & where exactly did this come from? because to me it doesn't make any sense. early muddy waters for example, is as "country blues" as the music of son house. what about frankie lee sims? lightnin' hopkins electric or acoustic would still be "country blues". just as lonnie johnson electric or acoustic wouldn't be.
i'm not really interested in trying to define "country blues" to a little category. but it puzzles me why there would be a notion out there (i've had to pick this up from somewhere) that if you plug your guitar into an amp, somehow it changes what you are playing.
i happen to like both electric & acoustic guitar sounds. but to me, it's what music is being played, not what the music is being played on.
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline banjochris

  • Member
  • Posts: 2114
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2010, 03:08:46 PM »
Not that I was around then, but I think the notion came from the '50s-'60s folk boom that centered at first on groups like the Weavers and the Kingston Trio and then carried over into some of the blues area. There was a (extremely mistaken, I think) notion that somehow acoustic "folk" music was free of commercialism, especially compared with early rock music and pop stuff with lush orchestral arrangements, etc. Read the liner notes on the first Peter, Paul and Mary album and you'll see what I mean.

I agree, it's the type of music, not whether it's acoustic or electric. The most ridiculous story I ever read about this, and I don't know if it's true, is that the Rooftop Singers refused to play on a gig with Bo Diddley once because his electric guitar wasn't real folk music. Ridiculous.
Chris

Offline Lyle Lofgren

  • Member
  • Posts: 245
    • Lyle & Elizabeth Lofgren
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2010, 03:10:16 PM »
"it puzzles me why there would be a notion out there (i've had to pick this up from somewhere) that if you plug your guitar into an amp, somehow it changes what you are playing."

I'd argue that it most certainly does change what you are playing. It certainly changes the sound quality by a great amount, which is an important part of music. But there was a lot of elitist attitude that you couldn't use electricity if you were being traditional, because musicians before the mid-20th century didn't have electrical amplification, and the idea of traditional music being "home" music fostered romantic images of the old folks at home on the back porch. But anyone playing on a street corner or in a juke joint must have wished they did have amplification, as evidenced by the popularity of resophonic guitars and the need for a penetrating voice.

But the first electric amplifiers and speakers were not up to the task asked of them: to cut through a noisy, boisterous crowd, so they were used way beyond their design limits, resulting in distortion that became part of the blues sound. I find it interesting that city blues imitators, who could afford 200 watt amplifiers and speakers to handle that power, had to then buy extra devices to dirty the sound back up again, just as if they were overdriving a cheapo combined amplifier and speaker in a 1-foot-cube box.

Arguing about authenticity is futile, but certainly there's a big difference between acoustic and electrically-amplified music as it applies to blues (Mance Lipscomb vs. Lightnin' Hopkins, for instance).  

Non-blues city performers of traditional music, I've noticed, are tending to use acoustic pickups on acoustic instruments, with only modest amplification: a trend away from the sound distortion that was a hallmark of Chicago blues.

Lyle

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6944
  • I like chicken pie
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2010, 06:25:52 PM »
Well I've thought for some time the musical expression curve, when it's working in an upward direction, is built on:

1. The biofeedback loop. In other words if you like what you're hearing naturally you will play better, alpha waves (or whatever) probably.

2. The more tricks you have up your sleeve the higher you can push that expression curve, which is why we are motivated to persevere in the practicing area. This applies equally to unplugged or plugged.

3. Amplification really helps in the 'hearing' department, to get the loop started. Anyone who has played a gig where they had great sound on stage, by which I mean you can hear yourself, versus another one where you had lousy stage sound for whatever reason, knows exactly what I'm talking about.

4. Then there is the dynamics issue. More (uncompressed) volume, by definition, immediately gives you a much wider dynamic range, no matter what the instrument. This is where 'touch' becomes very apparent, you can really work with it. Compressors can be good but using them properly is a whole skill set in its own right.

5. Final point I have on this is tone. I have owned and played a lot of electric guitars and they are/were all (well mostly) a lot of fun but each one was different in its own right. These days, plugged in, I'm totally a Gretsch guy. Why? I just love the sound of them.

So there's that the biofeedback loop idea again, return to step 1
« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 06:32:34 PM by Rivers »

Offline banjochris

  • Member
  • Posts: 2114
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2010, 07:24:50 PM »
I'd argue that it most certainly does change what you are playing. It certainly changes the sound quality by a great amount, which is an important part of music.

And just to clarify, I totally agree with this statement, I just meant what I said in terms of mattering from the point of view of so-called "authenticity." And just as an aside, I always thought both Lightnin' and John Lee Hooker sounded much better amplified, providing they weren't playing with an entire band. Probably my single favorite Lightnin' recording is "Cotton Field Blues" live from the Newport Folk Festival, with just drums backing him.
Chris

Offline Slack

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8836
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2010, 07:25:10 PM »
This stuff does not belong in the main forum!  :P

Quote
3. Amplification really helps in the 'hearing' department, to get the loop started. Anyone who has played a gig where they had great sound on stage, by which I mean you can hear yourself, versus another one where you had lousy stage sound for whatever reason, knows exactly what I'm talking about.

We must swap stories some day.  

Quote
5. Final point I have on this is tone. I have owned and played a lot of electric guitars and they are/were all (well mostly) a lot of fun but each one was different in its own right. These days, plugged in, I'm totally a Gretsch guy. Why? I just love the sound of them.

I was too, until Jamie (slackabilly/swingo lead guitar) bought an eastman T146smd on ebay and stuck TV jones classics in it. I seldom lust after guitars these days, but that is a good one, at about half the price of a Gretsch.

But isn;t the topic electrical recording?  :P  


Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6944
  • I like chicken pie
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2010, 07:27:23 PM »
I have an Eastman too!  ;)

Offline Slack

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8836
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2010, 07:28:50 PM »
I have an Eastman too!  ;)

I know.. but not a thinline with tvjones.  ;D

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6944
  • I like chicken pie
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2010, 07:30:42 PM »
Heh! Now you've got me thinking.

And yes, the topic was about recording. Sorry about the diversion there. But actually I think it's probably more to do with the player than the medium, whether they actually like it and can embrace it. If it feels good do it.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 07:49:19 PM by Rivers »

Offline lindy

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 1084
  • I'm a llama!
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2010, 07:48:40 PM »

I always roll my eyes when this question gets raised, I think it's one of the biggest non-questions us Weenies can possibly ask. No one asks it about other instruments. Ray Charles or Henry Butler on electric piano? No one bats an eye when they're playing churchy blues or funky New Orleans style tunes on electric keyboards. Why do we insist on treating guitars differently?

I think the best examples of how well country blues can be played by soloists on electric guitars are the last three CDs recorded by Larry Johnson: Blues for Harlem, Two Gun Green, and The Gentle Side of Larry Johnson. All done on his beautiful Gibson big-body electric. Also, take another look at the vids I posted a couple of weeks back of R.L. Burnside playing Jumper on the Line on two different electric guitars. Pure North Mississippi hill country blues. In his hands, that song sounds great on either an electric or acoustic box.

Lindy

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6944
  • I like chicken pie
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2010, 07:50:17 PM »
Amen Lindy.

Offline Slack

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8836
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2010, 08:05:28 PM »
Right, and to wind our way back. 

If you have never checked out Jimmy Lee Williams ("Hoot Your Belly" on Fat Possum records) - do yourself a favor.  The most distorted funky electric you've ever heard and it works great.  "Have You Ever Seen Peaches" is a favorite.  Johnm did a nice review here:

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=1666.0

Offline lindy

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 1084
  • I'm a llama!
Re: electrical recording
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2010, 08:21:53 PM »

Cecil Barfield. I love this guy's country 'lectric version of Lucy Mae Blues.



Natural fact, that George Mitchell Collection has a lot a great stuff that's plugged in.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 08:26:02 PM by lindy »

 


SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal